IRISH CUP: McAree reflects on Dungannon Swifts heartbreak

Jamie Glackin (left) and his Dungannon Swifts team-mates suffered late cup heartbreak on Saturday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Jamie Glackin (left) and his Dungannon Swifts team-mates suffered late cup heartbreak on Saturday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Rodney McAree admitted the luck went against Dungannon after they suffered late Irish Cup heartbreak against Linfield.

The Swifts came so close to toppling David Healy’s side at Mourneview Park.

But instead it is Linfield who march on to the Windsor Park showpiece against Coleraine next month.

McAree saw his goalkeeper save a penalty, then deny Paul Smyth minutes later.

Indeed they held out well against the Blues right up until the 89th minute - before Stephen Lowry broke the deadlock.

The Dungannon head coach admitted he was starting to think it could be their day.

“Yes - because the Paul Smyth one came very quickly after it,” he conceded.

“I sort of thought then that it was going to be our day.

“But you have to have a little bit of luck to win cup games and unfortunately we haven’t had that today.”

McAree also lamented several chances which his side couldn’t quite finish off.

They included a deflected shot from Dougie Wilson, and an effort from Peter McMahon that drew a wonder-save from Roy Carroll.

“Dougie Wilson has a great strike from the edge of the box which took a slight deflection and went narrowly wide,” he added.

“If it doesn’t take a deflection it maybe goes in the net.

“But it is all ifs, buts and maybes. We just have to move on and get back to training and look forward to our league game away to Ards next weekend.”

Dungannon performed well and, in ex-Blues defender Christopher Hegarty, had the game’s standout player.

Coleman also impressed, making a crucial penalty save, while the back four and midfield worked tirelessly.

McAree admitted there was a sense of pride in his players’ performance - despite the agonising defeat.

“I’m proud of every single one of them,” he said.

“We came here today, we knew it was going to be extremely difficult, but we wanted to make sure we pushed Linfield as far as we could. Unfortunately we didn’t hold out until extra-time.”

He added: “I don’t really think either goalkeeper had an awful pile of saves to make.

“But in the last 15 minutes I was delighted at how we came back into it.

“We showed our composure, we seemed to grow a bit in confidence.

“Unfortunately for me I didn’t think we picked enough second balls up all over the pitch.

“I think the ball that came into our box for the goal we have maybe reacted a little bit slowly.

“But that’s being very, very hard on my players. I am delighted with them.”